Sunday, May 26, 2024

New regulations to build on construction quality

Cabinet has agreed on regulatory proposals developed by Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to support greater opportunity for innovation and economies of scale, and improve trust and confidence in the building sector.

“In June, changes were made to the Building Act to support housing supply and affordability and increase sector productivity and innovation,” says MBIE’s General Manager Building System Performance, John Sneyd.

“The regulations that Cabinet has agreed to make will support the implementation of these changes. They will support more informed building product selection and help the sector to take advantage of new ways of building homes and building components for homes.”

Based on the policy decisions made at Cabinet this week, regulations are expected to be further developed for further approval by mid-2022.

The ‘Building (Building Products and Methods, Modular Components, and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2021’ is the first phase of a suite of reforms to building legislation, which introduced mandatory minimum information requirements for building products, enabled the creation of a new voluntary certification scheme for modular component manufacturers, and paved the way for a strengthened product certification scheme.

“The government will be requiring that more information is made available about building products and how they should be used so that builders, designers and homeowners can be confident in their choices. The new requirements will also support building consent authority decision-making and reduce the chance of things going wrong during or after the construction process,” John Sneyd said.

“The regulations will set out what information must be disclosed, when it must be disclosed, who must disclose the information and to whom, and how that information must be verified.

“We know from engaging with the sector that a one size fits all model for the many building products available in New Zealand isn’t going to work. Cabinet has agreed to create 3 classes of building products, with each class having slightly different information requirements.”

The three classes of building products cover: batch or mass produced products, such as fixings, roofing and cladding; custom-made lines of products, such as external windows and doors; and gas and electrical products regulated under the ‘Gas Act 1992’ and ‘Electricity Act 1992’.

Other proposals agreed to include the regulatory detail that will support the new voluntary certification scheme for modular component manufacturers and regulations that will strengthen the product certification scheme known as CodeMark.

“This new bespoke scheme for offsite manufacturers will support increased use of offsite manufacturing and prefabrication approaches, which have the potential to lift productivity, improve quality, reduce building costs and time, and contribute to better environmental outcomes through a reduction in waste,” John Sneyd said.

The changes to CodeMark include stricter requirements for product certification bodies, such as new registration requirements and a robust audit process.

The new regulations for the modular component manufacturer scheme and the product certification scheme will commence three months after they have been made. Building product information requirements will have a longer transition period of 18 months after regulations are made to ensure that industry suppliers have enough time to make changes to their systems and processes.

More information on the building law reform programme(external link) — Building Performance website

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